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aka: The 4400

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"The world will have to deal with us."
Jordan Collier
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The 4400 (pronounced "The Forty-Four Hundred") began as a Mini Series created for the USA Network. The Mini Series aired as five episodes in the summer of 2004, and the show was brought back as a series with three full seasons each consisting of thirteen episodes. After that, between the writers' strike and the very evident signs of The Chris Carter Effect, the series was not picked up for a new season.

The basic premise is that four thousand, four hundred people from the past century have been abducted, then Touched by Vorlons, and returned to the present day. They have not aged and they do not remember their abductions.

Many of the returnees discover that they have new abilities, such as telekinesis, mind control, clairvoyance, or unnatural control of phlebotinum.

The main characters are Homeland Security agents investigating the 4400. A small group of 4400s are regular characters. Episodes combine the Myth Arc with a "Freak of the Week".

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In 2018, The CW announced that it is planning a reboot.


The 4400 provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • In "Suffer the Children", Shawn begins helping out a group of homeless people and quickly befriends one of them, a teenage girl named Liv. They eventually find out about his Healing Hands in spite of his best efforts to keep his ability a secret. In the next episode "As Fate Would Have It", Shawn heals Liv when she has a drug overdose and recruits her into the 4400 Center so that she can have a better life for herself. In "Hidden", Liv goes on a date with Danny and has a relapse but Shawn allows her to stay at the Center. After this, Liv is never seen nor mentioned again even though the implication was that she and Shawn would eventually start a relationship. Shawn instead began a relationship with Isabelle in Season Three.
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    • In "Voices Carry", Kyle befriends his English literature professor Wendy Paulson. There is an immediate attraction between them and she soon becomes a close confidante. She is the only person other than his cousin Danny that he tells about his episodes of Missing Time. Wendy is never seen nor mentioned after her fourth and final appearance, which was also in "Hidden", in spite of the fact that it seemed as if she and Kyle were going to have a potentially inappropriate Teacher/Student Romance.
    • In "The Truth and Nothing But the Truth", Shawn decides to run for a seat on the Seattle City Council on the advice of Senator Roland Lenhoff in order to give the moderate members of the 4400 a voice. His campaign continues in the next two episodes "Try the Pie" and "Till We Have Built Jerusalem" but the only reference to it after that is the brief appearance of several posters and flyers towards the end of the Series Finale "The Great Leap Forward".
  • Accomplice by Inaction: In "Rebirth", NTAC discovers that Edwin Mayuya, a Rwandan member of the 4400, emigrated to the United States in April 1994 using a false identity. His real name is Edwin Musinga and he is wanted by the Rwanda government for aiding and abetting the Tutsi genocide. Musinga was a Hutu who ran a clinic which primarily catered to Tutsis. The police approached him and asked if he would allow the clinic to be used as a safe house for the Tutsi. He agreed and the word quickly spread among the local Tutsi community. Within three hours, the clinic was full. However, unbeknownst to Musinga, it was a trap. The police returned and slaughtered the Tutsi. While Musinga did not kill anyone personally, he did nothing to prevent the massacre as he blamed the Tutsi for the Hutu President of Burundi Cyprien Ntaryamira's plane being shot down.
  • Actor Allusion: In "Wake-Up Call", Kevin Burkhoff gives Tess Doerner a copy of At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft. Jeffrey Combs (Kevin) is well known for his roles in several Lovecraft adaptations, most notably Re-Animator and its two sequels, and played Lovecraft himself in Necronomicon.
  • The Alcoholic: In "Blink", it is revealed that Tom's late father Mitch drank heavily because he hated being a beat cop.
  • Alternate Timeline: In the two-part story "Gone", the woman from the future (who posed as Maia's sister Sarah Rutledge) and her accomplices kidnap five 4400 children - Maia, Lindsey Hammond, Tyler Downing and Duncan and Olivia Germaine - and transport them further back in time in order to create an alternate timeline. Their reason for doing so is that the 4400 have failed to change history and prevent the catastrophe of which the messenger in Kyle's body warned Tom in "White Light". Maia is sent to 1832 and eventually dies of smallpox while on the Oregon Trail in October 1847. Tyler is sent to 1893 and invents synthetic petroleum in 1915. Lindsey is sent to 1918, gets adopted by Robert Goddard and invents the composite materials used in the construction of the first lunar colonies.
  • And Starring:
    • Peter Coyote (Dennis Ryland) has an "and" credit in Season One.
    • Karina Lombard (Alana) has a "with" credit in Season Three.
    • Billy Campbell (Jordan Collier) has an "and" credit in Season Four.
  • Anti-Hero: Jordan Collier was one of the rarest types imaginable: an Affably Evil one. "The Wrath of Graham" illustrates this incredibly well.
  • Apparently Human Merfolk: In "The New World", Jung Pak, who disappeared in 1956, develops gills on his back.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: In "Pilot", the nations of the Earth fire their nuclear weapons at the incoming "comet". Some strike, but do not deter it. Then the object is shown passing the moon. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles are not designed to be fired into space, and certainly don't have enough power to get to The Moon — a three-day journey with today's technology.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • In "Pilot", Brad Rossi spray paints Shawn's car with "freak" shortly after he returns home and starts harassing him at school as soon as he sees him because he blames Shawn for getting him arrested in 2001. Shawn sold him tickets to a Foo Fighters concert which turned out to be stolen. The police searched him and found five ecstasy tablets on him. Several days later, Shawn and Brad get into a fight outside of school and Shawn accidentally uses his powers to drain Brad's Life Energy. He eventually lets Brad go when he realises what's happening.
    • In "Becoming", Philip Lopez is a recently paroled serial rapist who commits suicide after Oliver Knox uses his Compelling Voice on him.
    • In "The New World", the Nova Group kill the six men who conspired with Dennis Ryland to create the promicin inhibitor which ended up killing 28 members of the 4400. Their two attempts to kill Ryland are less successful.
  • Astral Projection: In "Audrey Parker's Come and Gone", the title character, an elderly free spirit, gains the power of astral projection after taking promicin. When she separates her consciousness from her body, she sees herself as the young woman that she was in the 1950s. Audrey uses her ability to travel throughout Seattle and observe the lives of its residents. After she is murdered while outside of her body, Audrey's consciousness survives. She discovers that her presence causes interference in electronic devices and NTAC determines what has happened as a result. Marco compares Audrey's disembodied consciousness to a signal which is disrupting the electrical fields of various machines. Audrey is able to alert NTAC that she was murdered and they are able to track down her killer before her consciousness fades away entirely.
  • Axes at School: In "Suffer the Children", Heather Tobey, a teacher at Van Buren Junior High School who disappeared in 1974, has the ability to unlock the artistic potential in her students. Her attempts to bring out the talents of Greg Venner, a boy with low self-esteem due to his bullying father Frank, are unsuccessful. Greg then takes a gun to school and tries to force Heather to use her ability on him so that he will not become a failure like his father. However, she is once again unable to do so since he does not have any hidden artistic or musical talent. Frank manages to talk Greg out of using the gun.
  • Back from the Dead: In the final scene of "Mommy's Bosses", it is revealed that Jordan Collier is alive. In the next episode "The New World", it becomes clear that Matthew Ross is aware of this but that he does not want anyone else to know. At the end of "The Starzl Mutation", Shawn and Tom learn that Jordan is alive when he turns up at Shawn and Isabelle's wedding calling Shawn's name and asking if he knows who he is. In "The Gospel According to Collier", NTAC begins an extensive search for Collier but they only manage to locate him when he visits Kyle at Evergreen State Penitentiary and asks if it is true that Kyle killed him. After Jordan is taken into custody, NTAC discovers that he has amnesia and that his thought processes are extremely distorted as a result of an apparent visit to the future. Alana uses her ability to restore his mind to normal. Once she does so, Jordan reveals that he knows what causes the future catastrophe and how to prevent it.
  • Bad Future:
    • In "The Starzl Mutation", Shawn receives a cigar as a wedding present from Claudio Borghi but it is no ordinary cigar. Claudio, who disappeared in 1961, has the ability to induce visions of possible futures in the people that he touches. As he prepared the cigar himself, it contains his ability. When Shawn smokes it, he sees two visions of the future. In the first possible future in which he married Isabelle, Richard turned the 4400 into an army and launched a preemptive strike on the general public. Instead of helping Isabelle to get in touch with her humanity, Shawn was corrupted by her influence. He uses his Harmful Healing ability to kill Richard and takes pleasure from the experience. In the second possible future in which Tom talked him out of marrying Isabelle, the catastrophe that the people from the future hoped to prevent has come to pass. Shawn frantically brings Tom back from the dead, clearly not for the first time, but he only remains alive for a brief period. Everyone else that they know and love is dead.
    • In "Try the Pie", Maia begins Dreaming of Things to Come, which is not the normal way that her ability manifests itself. She sees herself, the rest of the 4400 and everyone who is promicin positive being rounded up and sent to an internment camp, possibly even a death camp. From a prominent photograph of him at the camp, it is determined that Gabriel Hewitt, a member of the Seattle City Council and a candidate in the mayoral election, is a senior figure in the government in this potential future but it is unclear whether is the President, the Vice President or a Cabinet member. Diana is concerned that Shawn running for the City Council may be providing Hewitt with a platform for his anti-4400 views, thereby unintentionally giving him the political capital that he needs to make this future come to pass.
  • The Beastmaster: In "The New World", a member of the Nova Group (who was later revealed to be Jane Nance in "Graduation Day") has the ability to control animals. She uses it to induce Peter McClanahan's German Shepherd Crockett to maul him to death in his home. Marco even refers to her as "the Beastmaster."
  • Black and Gray Morality:
    • Even the best-intentioned groups are often Well-Intentioned Extremists, and those that aren't are not often very effective. Doubly so with the different factions amongst the abductors, who both have to let horrible things come to pass for their preferred futures, though the evil faction definitely wants the worse outcome.
    • In "The Home Front", Tom is appalled to discover that his lover Alana tipped off Gary Navarro, a member of the Nova Group, about an NTAC raid on his safe house. She explains that she did it for Tom as she knows that he feels guilty about the way that Gary was treated after being recruited by the NSA, as seen in "Voices Carry" and "The New World".
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • "Powers" have included spreading contagious diseases and other less-than-desirable abilities.
    • Danny Farrell gained the ability to spread promicin to anyone who came in contact with him, thereby giving them abilities, which could be seen as awesome. However, due to the nature of promicin, there was a fifty percent chance that he would kill the person instead.
  • Bottle Episode: "No Exit" takes place almost entirely in the NTAC building or at least the version of it that exists in the fantasy world created by P.J. The remaining scenes all feature existing sets such as Diana and Shawn's apartments and the underground bunker in Promise City.
  • British Rockstar: In "The Ballad of Kevin and Tess", Shawn befriends a British musician named Nick Crowley, whose music he loves, when he heals him in the aftermath of his drug and alcohol fueled binge. When Nick has similar episode the next day, he insists on being brought to the 4400 Center instead of a hospital so that Shawn can heal him again. Nick invites Shawn to come on tour with him so that he can heal him every time that this happens but Shawn declines as he thinks that his ability was meant for something better than continually bringing a rock star back from the brink of death.
  • Bulungi: In "Voices Carry", Jordan Collier entered into business with an international weapons dealer named Ian Dravitt. His plan was to fund a coup in San Tomé, an island nation off the west coast of Africa, in the hope of installing a friendly government who would shelter the 4400 if it became necessary. NTAC discovered the plan through the telepathic Gary Navarro but they had no actual proof of any wrongdoing.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: In "Till We Have Built Jerusalem", Captain Aquino has the ability to camouflage himself and others by blending into the environment. They are effectively invisible except for a slight distortion. However, it only works if those being camouflaged remain still.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Dennis Ryland and Nina Jarvis both disappear after the third season.
    • So does Alana Mareva and while Tom spends some time trying to find her, this mystery comes to a dead end when Isabelle reveals that she was sent back to the 1880s.
    • As does Diana's boyfriend Ben in the middle of the fourth. Dang.
    • Barely averted with Richard Tyler, who inexplicably vanishes for a while after the third season, but makes a last minute two-episode reappearance near the end of the series. His wife, Lily, also appears for an episode during this time, and despite the character only being projected by another 4400, they got the same actress back, who initially left after her real character died (or the other way around).
  • Cliffhanger: The Series Finale "The Great Leap Forward" ended on a huge one. In the aftermath of the promicin infection accidentally spread by Danny, at least 9,000 more people in Seattle have promicin abilities. Jordan Collier has assumed control over Seattle, which he has renamed Promise City, and is claiming that they are closer than ever to making his dream of Heaven on Earth a reality. Diana regards him as the self-appointed dictator of the city but Maia has been won over to his cause. Kyle brings Tom a promicin shot and he is strongly considering taking it.
  • Coconut Superpowers: Practically everyone, in fact, it was more unusual to find a character whose power actually involved special FX.
  • Compelling Voice:
    • In "Becoming", Oliver Knox, a serial killer known as the Friday Harbor Killer who disappeared in 1983, has the ability to persuade people to do anything that he wants using only his voice. As he was already a suspect in the killings before his disappearance, he uses his ability to convince Philip Lopez and Charlie Staley to kill Theresa Baron and Gayle Keating respectively. Both men were totally convinced that they were the Friday Harbor Killer and confessed to the eight murders that Knox committed in 1983, which is what led Tom and Diana to suspect that he had powers. Knox later convinced Aaron Mitchell to kill Felicia but he was stopped before he could do so. The Friday Harbor Sheriff's Department and NTAC had witnessed Knox talking to Mitchell as they started keeping tabs on him after the two confessions. He tries to kill Felicia himself but Tom prevents him from doing so. Knox is then imprisoned in a soundproof cell in NTAC Headquarters so that he can't use his ability on anyone else.
    • In "The Ballad of Kevin and Tess", Tess Doerner has learned to focus her ability to influence people since going off the promicin inhibitor and taking more effective meds to manage her schizophrenia. She can now convince people to do something by simply telling them to do it, either directly or indirectly. The extent of her power is demonstrated in "Fifty-Fifty" when she tells Richard to sit down and is rendered incapable of moving.
    • In "Daddy's Little Girl", Tess' schizophrenia has become so acute that no combination of drugs is able to relieve her symptoms. She takes over a 1950s themed diner and forces everyone there to dance constantly for more than two days as she believes that it is her Sweet Sixteen party in 1953. Most of them eventually collapse from sheer exhaustion. When Kevin tries to convince her what she is doing is wrong, she makes him place his hand on the burger grill, resulting in a severe burn. However, it soon disappears due to his Healing Factor.
  • Continuity Nod: In "No Exit", the cells of Orson Bailey, one of the first members of the 4400 to develop abilities in "Pilot", and Sara James, who appeared in "Lockdown", are seen in the lower levels of the NTAC building.
  • Converse with the Unconscious:
    • In "Pilot", Tom talks to his comatose son Kyle on a regular basis. He tells him about the unusually close comet that he is heading toward Earth, which turns out to be the ball of the light containing the 4400. Kyle's mother Linda also talks to him briefly.
    • In "The Wrath of Graham", Kyle talks to Shawn while he is in a coma, recalling that Tom told him that he often did the same thing for him.
  • Creator Cameo: In the Series Finale "The Great Leap Forward", the series' executive producer Ira Steven Behr makes a cameo appearance in a crowd scene.
  • Creepy Child: Maia. Especially when she smiles.
  • Dating Catwoman: In "Ghost in the Machine", after Tom Baldwin is Marked, Meghan discovers she has literally been sleeping with the enemy.
  • Dead Person Conversation:
    • In "Blink", Tom is slipped with a 4400 ability derived drug called Blink and begins to see visions of his father Mitch, who died in 1997. Mitch won't go away until the two of them have sorted out their unresolved issues.
    • In "One of Us", Byron Lillibridge, who disappeared in 1966, has the ability to enter a person's mind and create realistic hallucinations of a deceased loved one. In order to locate Isabelle, Kyle has Byron create a vision of Lily for Richard. These hallucinations can't generally hold or move objects but Byron is able to tap into Richard's telekinesis and make it appear as though Lily is solid.
    • In "Ghost in the Machine", Lindsey Hammond, Maia's friend and fellow 4400, asks Byron to create visions of Maia's late parents Victor and Mary as a present for her 13th birthday. He does the same thing for numerous other people in Promise City.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Nikki is a regular character in Season One and the Sibling Triangle involving her, Shawn and Danny is one of that season's major story arcs. However, she makes only two appearances after that. In Season Two's "Life Interrupted", she is seen in the fantasy world created by Alana. She eventually marries Danny and they have a daughter in that world. In Season Three's "The Home Front", Nikki visits the 4400 Center to ask Shawn to heal her father, who has terminal cancer. After he does so, she tries to rekindle their relationship but he pushes her away so that Isabelle won't hurt her.
    • Linda, Tom's estranged wife and Kyle's mother, is a major supporting character in Season One. In "White Light", they work together well in hiding Kyle from Warren Lytell and it is implied that they may even get back together. In "Wake-Up Call", however, one year has passed and they have gotten a divorce after trying and failing to patch things up. Linda's only subsequent appearance is in "Hidden" in which she again helps Kyle to hide from the authorities. She is barely even mentioned in Seasons Three and Four.
    • This is zigzagged with Danny. He is a regular character in Season One and a major recurring character in Season Two. His only appearance in Season Three is at a celebration marking Shawn and Isabelle's upcoming wedding in "The Starzl Mutation" but he returns to prominence with his three appearances in Season Four, particularly the final two episodes "Tiny Machines" and "The Great Leap Forward".
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In "Wake-Up Call", Richard has a recurring nightmare in which he sees himself running through a forest shouting Isabelle's name. He realizes that it was a prophetic dream when Reverend Josiah and his sons Owen and Gabriel begin hunting him, Lily and Isabelle through a forest after learning that they are 4400s.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In "Weight of the World", Jordan Collier's secretary Devon Moore attempts suicide by overdosing on pills after she learns from Shawn that Jordan is sleeping with the pop star Chloe Granger, a new student at the 4400 Center. When Shawn visits her at her parents' home, Devon tells her that she is madly in love with Jordan and can't stand the idea of him being with anyone else.
    • In "Mommy's Bosses", Dr. Max Hudson shoots himself in the head as he could no longer live with the guilt of developing the promicin inhibitor. The inhibitor had the unintended side effect of creating a deadly illness among the 4400. Although it is clear to the audience that Hudson committed suicide, both Tom and Diana suspect that Dennis Ryland arranged his death and made it look like a suicide.
    • In "Gone, Part II", Tom is driven to attempt suicide by hanging himself not because he wants to die but because he can't think of any other way to contact the people from the future. Having learned in "Life Interrupted" that they need him, he gambles that they will not let him die. Fortunately, the gamble pays off and is transported to the future to speak the woman who posed as Sarah Rutledge.
  • Easily Forgiven: In "Rebirth", Maia forgives Aunt April for exploiting her ability to gamble in the previous episode "Carrier". She's upset with Diana for kicking her sister out even when April's clearly sorry, but Diana explains that "sorry isn't enough". Even when she's made aware of April's past misgivings, Maia argues that family should just learn to forgive each other no matter how bad a mistake they made.
    Diana: Oh, Maia, you've got to— do me a favor, stop being more grown-up than your mom.
  • Empathic Healer: In "Rebirth", Edwin Mayuya, a nurse who disappeared in 1996, has the ability to repair the genetic disorders of unborn children in utero. However, NTAC discovers that every time that he heals an infant's chromosomes, he damages his own in the process.
  • Enemy Mine: In "No Exit", P.J., one of Marco's fellow NTAC nerds, developed the ability to create fantasy world that force belligerent people to work together in order to survive. He regarded these fantasy scenarios as games which had to be completed for those involved to wake up. P.J. was greatly disturbed by both the state of the world since promicin became readily available to the masses and the developing conflict between NTAC and Jordan Collier. In the hope of fostering an understanding between the parties, he trapped himself, Jordan, Tom, Diana, Shawn, Kyle, Isabelle, Maia, Marco, Meghan and Brady in one of these fantasy worlds. It took the form of the NTAC building as it was important to everyone for different reasons. After Meghan and Shawn were killed, P.J. admitted that he was responsible for their situation and alerted everyone to the importance of working together to prevent any further deaths.
  • Epiphanic Prison: Crossed over with Ontological Mystery in "No Exit". P.J. has the power to create these for conflicting people so they can learn how to work together.
  • Expy:
    • During the second season, the 4400 Center was almost a carbon-copy of the real life Church of Happyology.
    • The software company in the fourth season, Ubient Software, is pretty much a Bland-Name Product version of Microsoft.
  • Eye Colour Change: In "Being Tom Baldwin", Isabelle makes her eyes green so that they will match the dress that Matthew Ross gave her.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Dennis Ryland.
    • Isabelle, who goes back and forth a couple times before being forced to learn that Redemption Equals Death.
  • Fake Guest Star: Richard Kahan (Marco) appears in 32 of the series' 44 episodes, more than any other guest star. He is the only actor to appear in all four seasons without ever being part of the regular cast.
  • Fake-Out Opening: "The Wrath of Graham" begins with Tom and Kyle going to a ceremony at the 4400 Center where they meet Diana, Maia, Shawn, Ben, Marco, Burkhoff, Tess and Garrity. Everyone is happy and content. Jordan Collier gives a speech about how his decision to make promicin available to the general public ushered in an unprecedented era of global peace, harmony and happiness. It is revealed to be nothing more than Jordan's dream when the smiling crowd is replaced with a dead, deserted world. Burkhoff then wakes Jordan up.
  • Fantastic Drug: In "Blink", Naomi Bonderman, who disappeared in 1992, has the ability to secrete an oil through her hands which causes people to have vivid hallucinations about people from their past with whom they have unresolved issues. Her grandson Randy Atwater used traces of the oil on the herbs in her garden to create a drug called Blink. He then sent cookies laced with Blink to Tom and Diana in order to thank them for saving his grandmother's life by uncovering the promicin scandal. Tom had visions of his late father Mitch, with whom he had a very poor relationship, while Diana had visions of her ex-fiancé Josh Sandler, who cheated on her two weeks about the wedding. Although Randy's intentions were basically good, Erika Lundgren and two other Blink users could not cope with their hallucinations and were Driven to Suicide. Erika saw her uncle Patrick, who sexually abused her as a child.
  • Fetus Terrible: In "White Light", the unborn Isabelle uses her abilities to injure Jordan Collier in such a way that Shawn is unable to completely heal him more than a year later.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Many of the 4400 have difficulty adjusting to life in the 2000s due to the many social, societal and technology changes that have taken place since they were abducted. However, others are able to make the adjustment relatively quickly and easily and create new lives for themselves.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Terrible Swift Sword", when Shawn tells Jordan Collier that he is worried that he is beginning to think of himself as a Messiah, Jordan says that he sees himself more as John Brown. In "Till We Have Built Jerusalem", Jordan seizes control of a rundown, impoverished area of Seattle. He gives it the name Promise City and describes it as a sanctuary for all 4400 and people with promicin abilities who wish to join him. The government regards it as the unlawful seizure of US territory. Jordan's actions are similar to John Brown's seizure of the federal armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia in 1859 as part of his attempt to abolish the institution of slavery. Like Brown, Jordan is seen as a visionary and a champion of an oppressed people by some and a terrorist by others.
  • Fountain of Youth: In "Daddy's Little Girl", it is revealed that Cora Tomkins, who disappeared in 1950, has the ability to produce a chemical which makes whoever drinks it younger. Richard wants for Isabelle to be able to start her life over without all of the guilt that she feels for the terrible things that she has done. To that end, he kidnaps her from Promise City and gives her the chemical in water. Over night, she becomes about fourteen or fifteen years old. After another few hours, she is an eight-year-old and is already beginning to lose her memories, being unable to remember Shawn's name. Isabelle eventually decides to drink the rest of the chemical and reverts to about three, the age that she would be if not for her Plot-Relevant Age-Up. In the following episode "One of Us", Richard has Cora reverse the process.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: In "Tiny Machines", Maia inadvertently reveals to the Marked in control of Tom Baldwin that NTAC are on to him when she tells him that Meghan has been coming over at night to talk to Diana all week.
  • Functional Magic: In "The Great Leap Forward", Meghan develops the ability to transmute matter through the power of thought after being exposed to promicin. While she is signing a report in her office, her pen turns into a lilac.
  • The Future Is Shocking:
    • In "Pilot", Richard initially has trouble grasping the fact that things have improved dramatically for African-Americans since he disappeared in 1951. At a café, he is astonished to see white and black people socialising in public and sitting at the same tables with no one finding it the least bit unusual or objectionable. This hits home as immediately before he was abducted, he was beaten up by the white members of his army unit because he was dating Lily's grandmother Lily Bonham. Richard is also shocking to discover that the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor are both black in 2004.more  The term "black" itself is new to him as he called "Negro, colored or worse" in 1951.
    • In "The New and Improved Carl Morrissey", Richard expected the landlord to refuse to rent an apartment to him and Lily because he is black. After they are allowed to rent it, he admits to Lily that he is still sometimes surprised by how much has changed since his time.
    • In "Becoming", Richard is shocked at the sight of two teenagers making out in a public park and tells Lily that they only did so in a parked car by a lake in 1951.
  • Futureshadowing: In "Wake-Up Call", Diana reads Maia's diary in which she writes down her premonitions. One of them catches her attention: "Mommy's bosses will be punished for betraying us." It is later revealed in the two-part story "The Fifth Page" and "Mommy's Bosses" that Dennis Ryland and other senior NTAC officials conspired to inject every member of the 4400 with a promicin inhibitor which eventually began to kill them.
  • A God Am I: In "The Wrath of Graham", Graham Holt, a 16-year-old junior at Adlai Stevenson High School in Seattle, gains the ability to make people worship him after injecting himself with promicin. Considering that he was an outcast, he revels in the experience. Graham is initially content to exercise his power over the student body, all of whom begin to wear black hoodies to emulate their new Messiah. A popular girl named Amber, on whom he has a crush but who wouldn't give him the time of day beforehand, offers herself to him and they have sex. Other students tear down the statue of Adlai Stevenson outside of the school and replace it with an effigy of Graham. When the school principal Mr. Meyer alerts NTAC, Tom and Garrity attempt to bring him in to be tested for promicin but the students prevent them from doing so. After this, Graham becomes more ambitious and extends his control to the adult population. He has them create a blockade around the school so that NTAC can't reach him. Eventually gaining control over large parts of the city, Graham converts several police stations and has the cops arrest the NTAC agents and bring them to him. He even appears on television in an attempt to attract new followers. Graham is finally defeated when Jordan Collier uses his ability to remove the promicin from his system.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The National Threat Assessment Command (NTAC) is a division of the Department of Homeland Security which is charged with overseeing matters related to the 4400.
  • Grave Robbing: In "As Fate Would Have It", Jordan Collier's body vanishes from the 4400 Center immediately after his memorial service.
  • Guilt by Coincidence: This is played with in Season Two. In "Hidden", Roy Keith Marsden is arrested for the murder of Jordan Collier because he fits the NTAC profile, he resembles the artist's sketch of the culprit and he had previously threatened Collier's life. Several hours earlier, Tom had learned that Kyle had assassinated Collier while under the influence of the people from the future. In "Lockdown", the prosecution states that it is looking for the death penalty for Marsden. In "Mommy's Bosses", Marsden takes a plea bargain and agrees to serve a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 20 years. Dennis Ryland later tells Tom that Kyle had been under surveillance ever since being released from quarantine and that he had Marsden framed. Ryland did not do so out of the goodness of his heart but so that he would have something with which he could blackmail Tom.
  • Harmful Healing: Shawn has healing powers that can be turned to the opposite side. Mostly he has control over them, but in one episode, he's being affected by a plague and tries to cure Maia's scraped knee, almost killing her. Since he's a good guy and only ever has used that part of his powers accidentally (the time with Maya and once when he was new to his abilities), no one actually dies from this until in the finale, when he has to kill his brother Danny.
  • Hate Plague:
    • In "Lockdown", T.J. Kim, who disappeared in 1998, has the ability to drive men into a homicidal rage with a high-pitched frequency. During her quarterly checkup at the Seattle NTAC headquarters, she uses her ability on all of the men in the building. They immediately begin fighting each other over trivial matters, resulting in Nina Jarvis being shot by Agent Park and several people being killed before Marco manages to find the frequency that counteracts its effects.
    • In "The New World", having gone off the promicin inhibitor, T.J. has learned to focus her ability and uses it to induce Dennis Ryland's lawyer to stab him with a letter opener multiple times during a congressional hearing.
  • Healing Factor:
    • In "The New World", Isabelle jumps off the roof of the 4400 Center after learning that her rapid aging is directly linked to her mother Lily becoming a frail, elderly woman overnight and the only way for Lily to live is for Isabelle herself to die. However, about two minutes after hitting the ground, Isabelle is completely healed. Several hours later, she holds her hands over an open flame and the burn heals within seconds.
    • In "Being Tom Baldwin", Isabelle drowns when she walks into a deep lake. She is found by a fisherman sometime later and is able to heal herself as soon as he takes her out of the water. Although Shawn believes that she was trying to drown herself, she was in fact trying to teach herself to swim while fully clothed.
    • Also in "Being Tom Baldwin", having injected himself with a modified form of promicin, Dr. Burkhoff develops the ability to heal himself. However, it does not always work. He demonstrates it to Diana by stabbing himself in the hand with a scalpel. Dr. Burkhoff is the first non-returnee to develop an ability. In "The Ballad of Kevin and Tess", he is shot and killed by an agent of Dennis Ryland's company Haspel Corp so that they can study the effects of promicin on a human body. However, Burkoff is able to revive within minutes, displaying a form of Resurrective Immortality.
    • In "Fifty-Fifty", the extent of Isabelle's ability to heal is seen when she survives a major explosion, which killed everyone else in the immediate vicinity, unscathed.
  • Healing Hands:
    • Shawn has the ability to heal others. In "Becoming", he uses his powers to awaken his cousin Kyle from his coma. He can heal someone who is on the verge of death but he can only bring a dead person back to life for a very brief period, usually less than a minute.
    • In "Fifty-Fifty", a woman in El Paso develops the ability to heal people after taking a promicin injection. She uses it to cure her father's Alzheimer's.
  • High-Voltage Death: In the fantasy world created by P.J. in "No Exit", Meghan is killed when she receives a massive electrical shock after hotwiring the NTAC armory room's keypad. However, she is alive and uninjured in the real world.
  • Homemade Inventions: In "Wake-Up Call", Tess Doerner, a schizophrenic member of the 4400 who disappeared in 1955, unwittingly takes control of the other patients and staff at the psychiatric hospital. As a result, they begin to build a structure from satellite dishes, a weather vane and other objects that are to hand. Tess believes the structure to be a communication device and hopes that the people who abducted the 4400 will return for her and take them with her, this time for good. Several NTAC agents sent to prevent the patients and staff from continuing to build the structure are effected in the same way and instead help to finish it. Once the device is powered up, it releases a pulse which has no discernible effect and Tess is devastated. It turns out that the structure is not a communication device as she thought. It was designed to cure Dr. Kevin Burkhoff, another patient and Tess' self-appointed protector, who had suffered from a severe paranoid personality disorder for decades and had not spoken a word in six years. Prior to his diagnosis, Kevin was a brilliant neuroscientist who is believed to be "the father of the 4400 technology."
  • How We Got Here: "Lockdown" opens with a scene showing Diana, a very ill Maia, Nina Jarvis (who has been shot) and several other women who have barricaded themselves in the NTAC gymnasium. Someone is pounding at the gym doors, desperately trying to get in. Diana raises her gun in order to defend herself and everyone else. The doors open and it turns out to be Tom. He and Diana then point their guns at each other. The storyline then flashes back ten hours and it is revealed that a 4400 named T.J. Kim released a Hate Plague which caused all of the men to become insanely angry.
  • An Ice Person: In "The New World", a member of the 4400 (later identified as Paul Newbold in "Terrible Swift Sword") has the ability to lower a person's body temperature to freezing. Christopher Luth freezes to death on his toilet.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Danny Farrell, Shawn's younger brother. After his older brother gets healing powers, he gets jealous. Eventually, in later seasons, he's one of the first main characters to take the superpower-granting drug that has a 50% fatality rate. He's given the power to spread the drug to others like a contagion, which may kill them, and he can't control it. Be Careful What You Wish For. Shawn has to reverse his healing powers and Mercy Kill him after Danny accidentally kills their mother and several other people and can't stop it. So there's that.
  • Improbable Age: In "The Wrath of Graham", the thirty-year-old Meghan Doyle is placed in command of the Seattle branch of NTAC.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In "White Light", after the messenger from the future leaves his body, Kyle has no memory of anything that happened before Shawn was abducted. He thinks that it is still the night of April 22, 2001. Unaware that he was in a coma for three years, he asks where Shawn is and tries to explain to Tom why he was drinking beer.
  • Lie to the Beholder:
    • In "Being Tom Baldwin", Boyd Gelder, a 17-year-old member of the Nova Group who disappeared in 2000, possesses the ability to fool people into thinking that he is another person using optical camouflage. He pretends to be Tom and frames him for the murder of T.J. Kim, the only member of the Nova Group in NTAC custody.
    • In "Terrible Swift Sword", Boyd infiltrates the US Army base where the promicin procured from Isabelle is stored by posing as Dennis Ryland. As such, he is able to steal all 17,432 units of Isabelle's pure promicin in the possession of the government.
    • In "Fifty-Fifty", Boyd's ability is powerful enough to work on Isabelle as he fools her into thinking that he is Jordan Collier.
  • Light 'em Up: In "The New World", Philippa Bynes, who disappeared in 1994, has the ability to create light from her hands.
  • Living Lie Detector: In "The Truth and Nothing But the Truth", it is revealed that April developed the ability to compel people to tell the truth simply by asking them questions. She and her new boyfriend Colin used it to make money by attracting marks and blackmailing them with the secret information that they have no choice but to tell her. When Tom doubts the effectiveness of her ability, April forces him to admit that he has occasionally had sexual fantasies about Diana. He is fully convinced after that.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Between the main and randomly encountered 4400s, various NTAC agents, government agents, and regular humans, it's no wonder the showrunners subtitle each 4400 with their name and date of disappearance.
  • Lockdown: In "Lockdown", Tom places the Seattle NTAC offices under lockdown after all of the men in the building (including him) are infected with a Hate Plague generated by T.J. Kim.
  • Magic from Technology: Superpowers such as telekinesis are explained with a new neurotransmitter: Promicin.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: In Season One, you wonder how Tom and Diana have enough time in their lives for Tom to visit his son in the hospital every day and Diana to spend time with Maia.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: In "Try the Pie", Billy gains the ability to produce a sonic scream after injecting himself with promicin. He uses it to incapacitate Tom so that he can't escape from Evanston.
  • Malfunction Malady: The immune system deficiency created by the promicin inhibitor causes the abilities of the affected 4400s to stop working. In "Lockdown", Shawn is unable to heal a blind woman named Olivia Cohen. In "The Fifth Page", Maia tells him that she can't use her ability to see the future to find a solution. In the same episode, Alana is unable to distinguish between the real world and the world that she created for herself and Tom in "Life Interrupted".
  • Mass Teleportation: The 4400 were separately abducted at various points between 1946 and 2003 and later transported en masse to the same location, Highland Beach, near Mount Rainier in Washington on August 14, 2004.
  • Mental Fusion: In "Try the Pie", a resident of Evanston has the ability to create a shared consciousness between anyone who ingests a chemical that they produce. The members of this shared consciousness can read each other's thoughts and experience each other's memories.
  • Mercy Kill: Shawn does this when Danny is dying painfully from his ability in the last episode.
  • Messianic Archetype:
    • Jordan Collier from season 2 on, though after his death and resurrection he becomes less sleazy and more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, causing many deaths but treated as the biggest threat to the real bad guys.
    • In "The Wrath of Graham", Graham Holt uses his ability to make people to worship him as a Messiah. Jordan does not take this well, leading Dr. Burkhoff to accuse him of having "Messiah envy."
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: In "Voices Carry", Gary Navarro, a baseball player who disappeared in 1973, is unable to cope with his telepathic powers. He hears every thought of every person around him and can't filter any of them out. As such, he becomes increasingly unstable. NTAC gives Gary an anti-psychotic drug called haloperidol which quietens the thoughts in his mind. However, when he is goes undercover in the 4400 Center, the drugs are confiscated and the voices return. Gary blows his cover when he bursts into Jordan Collier's office demanding the return of the haloperidol. In "The New World", Gary tells Diana that he eventually learned to control and harness his power and he now thinks of it in the same way as he does his other senses.
  • Mind over Matter:
    • In "Pilot", Orson Bailey develops telekinesis, becoming one of the first of the 4400 to exhibit powers. He can't control his telekinetic powers, which manifest when he is angry and intensify the angrier that he gets. After being released from quarantine, Orson hoped to be reinstated as a partner in his insurance firm Kensington & Bailey. However, his partner Gregory Kensington's son Adam, who now runs the company, tells him that this won't be possible as he was declared legally dead in 1986, seven years after his disappearance. Orson is furious and visits Adam's house that night to speak to him. When Adam refuses to let him inside, Orson's telekinesis causes Adam's skull to shatter, killing him instantly. After being questioned by the police, Orson is released and goes to visit his wife Elizabeth at her nursing home, only to discover that she died in the night. He is grief stricken and his telekinesis once again manifest, causing the building to shake and objects to fly around the room. Orson retreats to his and Elizabeth's old summer cabin so that he won't be able to hurt anyone else. Tom and Diana track him down and he reacts angrily to Tom's efforts to help him. This causes the strongest manifestation of his powers with Tom and Diana almost dying from having their skulls crushed in the same manner as Adam. However, Diana manages to put a stop to it by shooting Orson, non-fatally, in the shoulder.
    • Isabelle develops telekinetic powers by the time that she is six months old. In "Wake-Up Call", she uses her ability to make Reverend Josiah shoot his elder son Gabriel and later to make his younger son Owen shoot himself. In "Voices Carry", after a motel manager is rude to Lily, Isabelle opens the cash register using telekinesis and Lily steals the money, which she and Richard desperately need.
    • At the end of "Mommy's Bosses", Richard develops telekinesis after going off the promicin inhibitor. To his surprise, he is able to move a coffee cup just by thinking about. In "The New World", he inadvertently causes numerous objects in his 4400 Center apartment to fly across the room as he is stressed about Lily's Rapid Aging. In "The Ballad of Kevin and Tess", Richard is still having difficulty focusing his ability to the point that he fails numerous times to place scrunched up balls of paper into a garbage can. However, Heather Tobey helps him to unlock his potential and he is able to harness his ability. He practices by mentally throwing knives against the wall.
    • In "Gone, Part I", having realized that Matthew Ross has no control over her, Isabelle lifts him up into the air and almost crushes his windpipe as a warning to leave her alone in future.
    • In "Gone, Part II", Isabelle uses her ability to induce a heart attack in Richard after he objects to her relationship with Shawn. However, she is hit by a wave of remorse and stops herself before her father can suffer any permanent harm.
    • In "Graduation Day", after Matthew Ross tries to prevent her from finding the member of the Nova Group who caused Shawn to go insane, Isabelle uses her telekinesis to induce a stroke. This time, she does not stop herself and Matthew dies within seconds.
    • In "Fifty-Fifty", when it becomes apparent that there is no other way to stop her, Richard uses his telekinesis to inject Isabelle with the substance that Tom was given by the woman from the future who posed as Sarah Rutledge in "Gone, Part II". She does not die as both Tom and Richard expected but she is rendered completely powerless.
    • In "Daddy's Little Girl", Richard's telekinesis is so finely attuned that he can stop the flow of blood to Isabelle's brain for several seconds, rendering her unconscious. He later pins Tom, Diana and Kyle to the walls and ceiling of the safe house where he has taken Isabelle.
  • Missing Time: Kyle is so afflicted in Season Two.
    • In "Weight of the World", he goes to a fraternity party and has a few beers. The next thing that he knows, he is outside of a store with a broken window several hours later. He is promptly arrested but Tom "plays the NTAC card" and he is released.
    • In "Suffer the Children", he experiences another blackout while on campus with Danny and suddenly finds himself in his kitchen pouring a glass of orange juice. He ignores the advice of both Danny and his English professor Wendy Paulson to tell Tom what is happening to him as he does not want to spend any more time in quarantine.
    • In "As Fate Would Have It", he attends a concert with Danny. In the middle of it, he has another blackout. He finds himself digging a hole. After yet another blackout, he is in the corridor outside Wendy's apartment. She is unsurprisingly creeped out by his presence. When he tries to explain what happened the next day, Wendy advises him to seek professional help. In the final scene, Kyle throws a gun into a lake, revealing that he is the assassin of Jordan Collier. At the end of "Carrier", Kyle recovers all of his previously missing memories.
  • Mistaken from Behind: In "Pilot", after being released from quarantine, Lily sees a man whom she thinks is her husband Brian. When she runs over to him and he turns around, she sees that it is someone else.
  • Monochrome Past:
    • In "Mommy's Bosses", the Flashbacks to October 2004 are in sepia tone.
    • In "Try the Pie", the memories of Tom, Billy and Paul and Kathy Weir are shown in black and white.
  • Monster Clown: In "Fear Itself", Ray Heugen hallucinates that everyone around him is a killer clown after being exposed to Brandon Powell's ability to induce fear.
  • Monster of the Week: Really a "Freak of the Week," a one-shot returnee whose new ability provides the plot of each episode (although this becomes somewhat less the case as the series progresses).
  • Move in the Frozen Time: In Jordan Collier's dream in "The Wrath of Graham", Diana gained the ability to control the passage of time as a result of taking promicin. She uses it to freeze time as she knew that Tom and Kyle were going to be late for the ceremony at the 4400 Center. The two Baldwins are seen walking through the Center grounds while everyone else (with the exception of Diana, Maia and Ben) is frozen.
  • Mutual Kill: In "The Great Leap Forward", Isabelle uses her telekinesis to kill Rebecca Parrish, the Director of National Intelligence and one of the Marked. As she dies, Parrish uses the kill switch installed in Isabelle's system to eliminate her. However, Isabelle survives long enough to free Tom and Jordan Collier. She then dies in their arms.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: In "Daddy's Little Girl", Michael Ancelet developed total recall after taking promicin. He is able to remember every detail of his life in perfect accuracy. However, the memories build up to such an extent that he feels as if his head will explode if he doesn't write them down. Michael's autobiography is already hundreds of page long and he has only gotten to the fourth grade.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: In "Pilot", seven weeks after the return of the 4400, Lily learns that she is pregnant. Her husband Brian was away for weeks before her disappearance so he can't be the father and she has not been with anyone else since her return. As such, she and Richard conclude that she must have been impregnated after she was abducted. In "White Light", she discovers that her baby has sickle cell anemia and it is determined that Richard is the father. In "One of Us", it was revealed that the member of the Marked who took control of Matthew Ross and later Tom Baldwin was responsible for creating Isabelle and impregnating Lily.
  • Myth Arc:
    • In "White Light", the messenger speaking through Kyle reveals that the 4400 were abducted and transported through time by humans from the future. They did so in order to alter history and prevent a catastrophe from almost wiping out humanity.
    • In "Gone, Part II", Tom learns that the situation is complicated by the fact that there is a second group of future people who want history to remain unchanged. In order to achieve their goal, they unleashed a great evil by creating Isabelle. It becomes apparent that Isabelle, who possesses enormous power, must be stopped by any means necessary if the catastrophe is to be averted.
    • In "The Starzl Mutation", the reason why the 4400 were sent to Seattle in 2004 is revealed. From 1969 to 1974, Seattle Presbyterian Hospital used a malfunctioning radiation machine to treat certain patients. The children of these patients developed an altered eleventh chromosome as a result of exposure to the radiation. It became known as the Starzl Mutation, having been named after the company that made the radiation machine. Dennis Ryland's company Haspel Corp learned from Isabelle that if a member of the 4400 reproduces with a person who possesses the Starzl Mutation, their children will be promicin positive and possess abilities. On the other hand, when a 4400 reproduces with anyone else, their children don't possess any abilities.
  • Nanomachines: In "Tiny Machines", based on Curtis Peck's description of tiny machines, Marco determines that the Marked place their consciousness in their hosts by using nanites. These nanites are injected into the spinal fluid and replicate until there are enough of them for the consciousness to take complete control over the host. Diana and Meghan are able to remove the Marked in control of Tom Baldwin by subjecting him to a lethal dose of polonium in order to destroy the nanites. Shawn is then able to heal him.
  • New Superpower: Many members of the 4400 have difficulty controlling their powers when they first manifest, typically causing major problems for the people around them as well as NTAC.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In "The Marked" and "Ghost in the Machine", Drew Imroth, the billionaire CEO of the computer giant Ubient Software and one of the Marked, is very clearly based on Bill Gates.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: In "The Marked", Curtis Peck, a filmmaker who developed a cult following because of extremely low budget films starring his friends, is an Affectionate Parody of Ed Wood. The episode also features a Shout-Out to Wood as Marco has the poster for his best known film Plan 9 from Outer Space in his apartment.
  • No Name Given: In the two-part story "Gone", the real name of the woman from the future who posed as Maia's sister Sarah Rutledge is never stated.
  • The Nose Knows: In "Till We Have Built Jerusalem", a Super Soldier named Peters obtained the ability to track scents in the same fashion as many animals after taking promicin.
  • Omniscient Morality License: The abductors were clearly psychics in regards to how the powers they gave out would be used; they made a serial killer far more effective, so a relative of one of his victims would start killing random innocent members of the 4400 for revenge, which was used to invoke public sympathy for the group. No telling which one's worse: the Gambit Roulette or the disregard for innocent lives.
  • Oracular Urchin: Maia, who was only eight when she disappeared in 1946, has the ability to see the future. All of her visions come true and there appears to be no way to change things. The best example of this is NTAC's inability to prevent Jordan Collier's murder in "As Fate Would Have It". In "The New World", it is revealed that her ability has grown stronger since going off the promicin inhibitor to the point that she wakes up every morning knowing exactly what is going to happen. Prior to this, her power was restricted to occasional flashes. By "Gone, Part I", she has learned to focus her ability to the point that she can control when she receives visions to a certain extent.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • In "Graduation Day", Jorge Molina, who disappeared in 1975, can create fire with his mind.
    • In "Try the Pie", Paul Weir develops the ability to create fire from his hands after taking promicin.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: At the end of "Mommy's Bosses", the one-year-old Isabelle is aged to adulthood overnight. She appears to be in her early 20s but the next episode "The New World" makes it clear that she lacks the corresponding emotional development. She has trouble grasping the concepts of good and evil.
  • Polluted Wasteland: In "Terrible Swift Sword", Jordan Collier reveals in a television interview that Earth will be a wasteland in the future with only one city remaining on the entire planet.
  • Power Limiter: Ten weeks after the returnees came back, the government started injecting them with a "Promicin Inhibitor" or "PI" to keep them from developing abilities or to limit the abilities of those who have already developed them.
  • Power Copying: In "Graduation Day", Isabelle displays the ability to copy the powers of 4400s and turn them against the person in question. She uses it to hunt down the member of the Nova Group responsible for turning Shawn insane. First of all, Isabelle confronts Jane Nance, who has the ability to control animals, and kills her by forcing her pets to kill and eat her. She then turns Jorge Molina's pyrokinesis against him, causing the gas station where he worked to explode and kill him. Finally, Isabelle drives Daniel Armand insane after he cures Shawn's condition.
  • Prefers the Illusion: In "Gone, Part II", after Maia is kidnapped and transported back in time to 1832, Alana creates a fantasy world for Diana so that she can come to terms with her loss. However, Diana decides to remain in this illusion because she can't bear the idea of living the rest of her life without Maia. As a result, her health is severely affected. She develops an intercranial hemorrhage and there is a significant rise in her metabolic rate. Her life expectancy is about two months. When Tom and Alana enter her mind and explain the situation to her, Diana still refuses to leave as, given that time passes differently in these fantasy worlds, she and Maia will still have a lifetime together.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles:
    • Conchita Campbell (Maia) in Season Two, having appeared in every episode of Season One.
    • Karina Lombard (Alana) in Season Three, having been a recurring cast member in Season Two.
    • Billy Campbell (Jordan Collier) in Season Four, having been a recurring cast member in the first three seasons.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide:
    • In "Becoming", Oliver Knox used his Compelling Voice to convince Philip Lopez and Charlie Staley to commit suicide. Lopez hanged himself and Staley stepped in front of a truck, though it managed to stop before it hit him.
    • In "Wake-Up Call", the six-month-old Isabelle compels Reverend Josiah's son Owen to shoot himself in the head.
  • Psychic Link: In "Terrible Swift Sword", Lewis Mesirow, who disappeared in 1955, has the ability to create a psychic link with another person through remote viewing. He uses it to locate Kevin Burkhoff and Tess Doerner for Jordan Collier.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: In "Pilot", Orson Bailey's nose starts to bleed whenever his telekinesis manifests.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: In "The Marked", NTAC learns of the existence of the Marked, ten agents of the future faction who want to prevent any alteration of the timeline. Their consciousnesses were sent back in time via a form of Mental Time Travel and placed in the bodies of ten prominent people. They are able to completely control their hosts and have full access to their memories. Each of them possesses a mole behind their left ear by which they can be identified, a consequence of the consciousness implantation process. Matthew Ross was one of the Marked but he was killed by Isabelle in "Graduation Day", causing a delay in their plan to destroy the 4400. The remaining nine members were able to preserve their co-conspirator's consciousness until it was placed in the body of Tom Baldwin. In "One of Us", it gained full control over its latest host. In the following episode "Ghost in the Machine", Diana and Meghan realized what had happened.
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: Or rather, Promicin Immune Returnees.
  • Rapid Aging: In "The New World", it is revealed that Isabelle's Plot-Relevant Age-Up (as seen at the end of the preceding episode "Mommy's Bosses") caused her mother Lily to age just as rapidly, going from 29 to about 75 overnight. Dr. Burkhoff discovers that mother and daughter are connected and that Lily grows weaker as Isabelle grows stronger. Lily develops arthritis, diabetes, emphysema and various other conditions that Shawn is able to heal but she is on borrowed time and she knows it. She dies shortly after she and Richard arrive at the cabin where they lived in the months leading up to Isabelle's birth.
  • Retraux: The cold opening of "Fifty-Fifty" featured a video of Devon Moore, an employee of the 4400 Center, injecting herself with Promicin. In spite of being produced with a professional camera by wealthy individuals in 2006 and being distributed on the Internet, the video contained static/distortion, minor skips, and VCR tracking lines. This example could arguably also be considered Anachronism Stew.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: A slight variation in "Gone, Part II". After the people from the future abduct Maia and four other 4400 children and send them further back in time, everyone in the present forgets about them, at least consciously. They can still remember them on a subconscious level. While in a fantasy world created by Alana, Tom sees a little blonde girl without a face. When Alana creates another dreamland for him, he is able to see Maia clearly and she tells him her name. For her part, Diana can sense that there is something very important missing from her life. She buys numerous magazines and begins piecing together pictures of young girls in an attempt to come up with a picture of Maia's face. Diana later regains all of her memories of Maia when Alana uses her ability on her and she relives the experience of officially adopted Maia, as seen in "Wake-Up Call". The families of the other four children likewise experienced phantom memories which they were unable to explain.
  • Rule of Drama: In the pilot, the ACLU steps in and successfully argues that holding the 4400 against their will violates their rights. There's a lot of headscratching that can be done about that, but it is simply a way for the writers to get the 4400 out into the public and to have to try to go back to their lives without the counseling that they would need.
  • Sapient House: In the fantasy world created by P.J. in "No Exit", the NTAC building is alive and attempts to kill everyone inside of it. It succeeds in the case of Meghan, Shawn and P.J. himself.
  • Secret Test:
    • In "Carrier", Maia becomes concerned that her aunt April only likes her because she tells her things that are going to happen, allowing April to place several successful bets on sporting events. April assures Maia that winning doesn't matter and she loves her for who she is. In order to test her aunt's love for her, Maia tells her to bet on Chicago even though she knows that New York City is going to win. The sport is not specified. April bets her mother's engagement ring on the Chicago team and is very upset when they lose. As such, she fails Maia's test.
    • In "Terrible Swift Sword", Jordan Collier tells Shawn that he intends to launch an attack on the US Army base containing the promicin procured from Isabelle's system. Shawn thinks that going to war with the US government is insane and suicidal and warns NTAC about what Jordan is planning. When Tom and Diana confront Jordan in Shawn's presence, Jordan reveals that he had never intended to attack the base. It had merely been a test for Shawn. He wanted to see whether Shawn would betray him at the first sign of trouble. Suffice it to say, Shawn failed. It turns out that Jordan wasn't entirely honest with them. While he was never going to attack the base outright, he planned to infiltrate it by taking advantage of Boyd Gelder's ability to Lie to the Beholder.
  • Self-Duplication: In "The Great Leap Forward", Jed Gerrity develops the ability to self-duplicate after being exposed to promicin.
  • Shock and Awe: In "The New World", Tyler Downing, who disappeared in 1972, has the ability to control electricity with his mind.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "As Fate Would Have It", there is one to the final scene of The Godfather. Liv, a homeless junkie whom Shawn befriended and convinced to join the 4400 Center, sadly watches as his aides close his office door on her shortly after Jordan Collier's assassination.
    • In "Gone, Part II", having been given a mental illness of the Nova Group leader Daniel Armand, Shawn begins tearing his apartment in the 4400 Center to pieces in order to find a bug, just as Harry Caul did in the final scene of The Conversation.
    • In "The Starzl Mutation", one of Darren Piersahl's victims is named Holly Martins. This was the name of the protagonist of The Third Man, as played by Joseph Cotten.
    • In "The Wrath of Graham", after NTAC and the Army lay siege to Adlai Stevenson High School, Graham Holt's followers all claim to be him in order to protect him, referencing the iconic scene in Spartacus.
    • The final scene of the Series Finale "The Great Leap Forward" has "Where Is My Mind" by The Pixies playing.
  • Sibling Triangle:
    • For most of Season One, Shawn's younger brother Danny is dating their neighbor Nikki Hudson, who was only 14 when Shawn disappeared. As soon as Shawn sees her again at his welcome home party in "Pilot", there is an immediate attraction between them. Danny becomes suspicious when he sees the two of them chatting in the school hallway and even more so when Nikki begins inviting Shawn wherever they go. In "The New and Improved Carl Morrissey", Danny asks Shawn what's going on between the two of them. Shawn claims that Danny is just imagining it. However, Nikki comes over to talk to Shawn that night and the two of them kiss after he heals her hand, which she burned on his car engine. In "Trial by Fire", Nikki breaks up with Danny but tells Shawn that it has nothing to do with him. After visiting Highland Beach where the 4400 reappeared, Shawn and Nikki have sex. In "White Light", Danny is furious when Nikki tells him everything and he and Shawn get into a fight. Shawn accidentally drains Danny's Life Energy while trying to fight him off, nearly killing him in the process. He then leaves home and goes to live at Arcadia Estates, which Jordan Collier set up for 4400s seeking sanctuary.
    • In "The Gospel According to Collier", Diana's sister April returns to Seattle to live with her new boyfriend, a photographer named Ben Saunders. Diana is immediately charmed by Ben and tells April that he is a keeper. That night, Maia can't sleep because she had a vision that their family was going to grow. She tells Diana that she saw her in a wedding dress and that Ben was the groom. Diana is convinced that Maia is mistaken, in spite of her track record. The next time that she sees Ben, she tells him about Maia's vision so that they can avoid each other. However, Ben instead breaks up with April and he gently persuades Diana to admit that she is attracted to him. Several days later, they have a chance encounter at a supermarket which turns into a date of sorts. Ben kisses Diana goodbye. The next day, she goes to Ben's photography exhibit. Diana has decided to take a chance on him and they once again kiss. When she returns home, she tells April that she was working late but Maia can tell that she is lying. In "Terrible Swift Sword", Maia tells April the truth as she thought that it would make her feel better. It doesn't. April is devastated and later confides in Diana that she saw Ben as her one chance at a healthy, long-term relationship. She becomes depressed and calls herself a loser for always hooking up with the wrong type of guy (bar Ben).
  • Soft Glass: In the fantasy world created by P.J. in "No Exit", a window shatters on its own and Shawn is impaled with dozens of glass shards, killing him instantly. However, considering that it is only a fantasy, he is alive and uninjured in reality.
  • The South Paw: In "One of Us", it's revealed by Dr. Kevin Burkhoff that 9 out of 10 left-handed people survive the Promicin injections. Therefore, most of the non "Original Recipe" P-positives would be left handed.
  • Spot the Imposter: In "Being Tom Baldwin", Alana is held at gunpoint by Boyd Gelder, who has the ability to Lie to the Beholder and is posing as Tom. The real Tom soon arrives and wrestles the gun from him. Now holding the gun, Alana must decide which is them is Tom and which is Boyd in disguise. She notices that one of them is bleeding profusely and realizes that this is Boyd as she hit him over the head with a vase just before Tom arrived.
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries: In "The Marked", Curtis Peck, who disappeared in 2001, started making films about famous unsolved mysteries and conspiracy theories after he returned. Many of his fans, including Marco and the other NTAC nerds P.J. and Brady, believe that making these films is his ability and that everything that happens in them is true. It turns out that they are correct. His ability manifests itself through his writing and he does not know the whole story until he has finished writing each script. Curtis' films include I Dismembered Jimmy Hoffa, which states that the remains of the former leader of the Teamsters' Union are buried in the Florida Everglades, and Dead. Completely Dead., which asserts that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a Marine named Robert Shafto. Records indicate that Shafto was in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He also made films about Jack the Ripper and The Lost Colony of Roanoke, a period drama filmed in his backyard.
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • Maia's precognition abilities are powerful enough that she could solve most of the important story plots before they become extremely complicated. Whatever she predicts comes true 100% of the time. The Marked even considered her a significant threat to their plans.
    • Shawn and Cora also count, as if everyone knew about them and could get to them they would both be flooded by requests of use of their powers on themselves or people they care about, as we see the few times Shawn tries to set up a healing service.
  • Stylistic Suck: In "The Marked", Curtis Peck's completed film Dead. Completely Dead. and the trailer for his next film The Marked both contain lots of Bad "Bad Acting", horrendous dialogue, poor cinematography and readily visible boom mics.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: Isabelle's blood can restore other returnees' abilities from the inhibitor.
  • Super Registration Act: In "The Truth and Nothing But the Truth", it is revealed that Senator Roland Lenhoff introduced the legislation requiring the 4400 to register their abilities with the US government.
  • Super Soldier: In "The Starzl Mutation", NTAC learns that Dennis Ryland's company Haspel Corp, working on behalf of the US government, is conducting secret experiments into giving soldiers abilities similar to those of the 4400. The volunteers were injected with the volunteers with promicin procured from Isabelle's system. The Pentagon approved these experiments as it became aware that enemy nations are themselves working on ways to create such super soldiers.
  • Super Strength:
    • In "The New and Improved Carl Morrissey", the title character develops superhuman strength and enhanced reflexes. He uses them to clean up his neighborhood as he wants Bradley Park to be the nice, safe place that it was in his childhood instead of a hangout for junkies. Carl stops muggers and saves a young woman named Maureen from being raped in the park, becoming what Diana describes as a "sad sack supervigilante." However, his new abilities do not make him invulnerable as he thought they did. He is stabbed in the stomach while fighting three thugs in Bradley Park and dies from his wound with minutes.
    • In "Fifty-Fifty", it becomes clear that Isabelle possesses super strength as she effortlessly throws Tom across the room.
  • Synthetic Plague: A slight variation. In the two-part story "The Fifth Page" and "Mommy's Bosses", Kevin Burkhoff determines that the apparent disease afflicting the 4400 is not a disease at all but an unintended side effect of the promicin inhibitor that is given to them at their quarterly checkups. Promicin is a previously unknown neurotransmitter which gives the 4400 their abilities. The inhibitor builds up in the lymph nodes until it reaches toxic levels, severely damaging the immune system and ultimately resulting in death.
  • Technopath: In "Ghost in the Machine", Warren Trask gained the ability to control machines after taking promicin. This was not immediately apparent as he had a stroke which rendered him unable to speak or move before his powers manifested. However, Warren's mental faculties were unaffected. He managed to tap into the computers running his life support and spread a virus to every operating system developed by Ubient Software from ATMs and laptops to government mainframes and international banking databases. This had a severe effect on the global economy. Warren did so out of revenge as Ubient's CEO Drew Imroth stole the idea for the operating system Enzyme from him in the early 1980s and made billions while he received only $100,000 as part of an out of court settlement.
  • Teleportation: In "The Great Leap Forward", Marco develops the ability to teleport after being exposed to promicin. He is in the Theory Room looking at a photograph of an area of Promise City and suddenly finds himself in that exact location. Being the massive nerd that he is, Marco thinks that it is cool whereas most people are freaked out by their new abilities.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: In "Fifty-Fifty", Diana retires from NTAC and moves to San Sebastian in Spain with her new boyfriend Ben Saunders as she has grown tired of the fight. Three months later in "The Wrath of Graham", she accepts a position as The European Union's adviser on the 4400. However, she returns to NTAC and Seattle when she learns from Marco that her sister April took promicin and has gone missing.
  • Title by Number: The title refers to the number of people abducted by the people from the future and returned to Seattle in 2004.
  • Title Drop: In "The Marked", there is an In-Universe example. Curtis Peck's film Dead. Completely Dead. features a Marine named Robert Shafto, played by Curtis himself, saying that John F. Kennedy will be "dead. completely dead" by the time that he is through with him.
  • Touch of Death: Shawn, though thankfully he rarely uses it.
  • Tuckerization:
    • In "Try the Pie" and "Till We Have Built Jerusalem", the Seattle City Council member and anti-4400 activist Gabriel Hewitt is named after the series' consulting producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe.
    • In "Till We Have Built Jerusalem", the Super Soldier Peters is named after the series' co-creator Scott Peters.
  • Typhoid Mary:
    • In "Carrier", Jean DeLynn Baker, an unbalanced woman who disappeared in 1999, grows spores on her hands over night. These spores release a toxin that kills everyone else in her hometown of Granite Pass, Oregon, including her parents. Jean can't control her ability, which thereafter manifests whenever she becomes angry or upset. She eventually comes to believe that she is on a Mission from God to purify humanity.
    • In "Tiny Machines", Danny takes a promicin shot and soon develops the ability to spread promicin like a plague. He himself is immune to its effects. In the following episode (and Series Finale) "The Great Leap Forward", his mother Susan is the first person to die but far from the last. When he brings her to St. Ambrose Hospital, Danny's presence causes half of the people there to die from promicin exposure while the other half survive and go on to develop abilities. NTAC and the government initially believe that the outbreak is confined to the hospital but it becomes readily apparent that it is spreading throughout Seattle like a contagion. It even reaches the NTAC building itself. Hundreds of people die within hours. By the time that the outbreak is contained eight days later, the confirmed death toll stands at 9,000.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: The exact nature of the catastrophe that causes the near extinction of humanity in the future is never revealed.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Jordan Collier's plans to establish a new world order of people with abilities. Considering their methods, this also applies to the abductors of the 4400. Particularly harsh when it comes to the abductors: the best outcome of their machinations involves half the human population dying at some point so every survivor can have superpowers, just so that the remaining half of humanity can survive and create a less horrible future. The worst (and default) outcome is everyone but a very small group of well-off and privileged humans dying and the world becoming an ecological nightmare.
  • Visible Invisibility: In "Audrey Parker's Come and Gone", the disembodied unconsciousness of Audrey Parker is invisible to Tom, Diana and everyone but is perfectly visible to the audience.
  • Voice Changeling: In "Ghost in the Machine", one of Jordan Collier's followers has the ability to perfectly imitate people's voices. He lures Kevin Burkhoff into a trap using Tess' voice, allowing Kyle to capture him and bring him to Promise City.
  • The Wall Around the World: In "The Gospel According to Collier", Jordan Collier saw a city surrounded by a wall 1,000 feet high during his visit to the future. In "Terrible Swift Sword", he reveals that it is the last city on Earth.
  • Water Torture: In "The New World", NSA Agent Wood waterboards Gary Navarro in order to determine what he knows about the Nova Group and what it is planning for October 19.
  • Weather Manipulation: In "Till We Have Built Jerusalem", one of Jordan Collier's followers has the ability to control the weather. Jordan has them create minor earthquakes and tornadoes which destroy property but do not harm anyone in order to warn NTAC and the government against attacking him.
  • Weight Loss Horror: In "Weight of the World", Trent Appelbaum, a salesman who disappeared in 1989, discovers that his saliva is a catalyst for weight loss after his loan shark Dmitri Kazar lost 75 pounds within 48 hours of drinking from Trent's beer bottle. Dmitri then brings his wife Celeste to him so that she can lose weight. After she and Trent drink from the same water bottle, Celeste loses 23 pounds just as quickly. Trent sees the business potential in his ability as it could be used to wipe out obesity. Drandix Laboratories agrees to pay him $40 million for exclusive access to his ability. However, the Kazars both die of starvation. NTAC determines that there is a protein in Trent's saliva that hyperacclerates a person's metabolism, stimulating the brain to produce epinephrine and break down fat cells. As such, exposure to the saliva caused the Kazar to burn calories faster than they could take them in and they starved to death in spite of the fact that they were eating everything that they could get their hands on.
  • Western Terrorists: In "Trial by Fire", Glen and Dean Keating became domestic terrorists who targeted the 4400 after their sister Gayle was murdered (as seen in "Becoming"). They used firebombs to kill several members of the 4400, including Mary Deneville. Richard and Lily were two of their intended victims. They later tried to destroy Arcadia Estates but Tom and Diana stopped them.
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: In "Fear Itself", Ryan Powell injected his autistic son Brandon with promicin in the hope that he would gain an ability and be able to live a normal life. However, Brandon developed the ability to induce fear in people, causing them to experience hallucinations of their greatest fears come to life. His power manifests whenever he is upset and he has no way of controlling it.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?:
    • Kyle Baldwin in season 4 gains an ability where he sees an independently sentient being who regularly tells him what to do next. That's it. However, the writers managed to make it a cornerstone of Jordan Collier's cult.
    • In "Try the Pie", Shannon Reese's ability to be a super-therapist is not something most people would consider to be special. Luckily she was a therapist before taking promicin so it had value to her nonetheless.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: In "Gone, Part I", siblings Duncan and Olivia Germaine, who disappeared in 1964, have the ability to manipulate water and create diffusion. However, it only works if they do it together.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In "Tiny Machines", the Marked in control of Tom Baldwin sedates Maia and injects her with the promicin inhibitor so that she won't have any visions about him. She becomes sick as a result.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Alana's dreamland power works this way. In "Life Interrupted", eight years pass for Tom and Alana but only a few seconds go by in the real world.

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